Verdict Affirms Shooting Was a Mistake: BART Lawyer

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    An attorney for BART said tonight that Johannes Mehserle's  involuntary manslaughter conviction for the shooting death of Oscar Grant III  is consistent with the transit agency's position that the shooting was a  mistake by Mehserle.

    Dale Allen, an outside lawyer hired by BART to defend itself  against a wrongful death suit that was filed by Grant's family, said, "The  position of BART has always been that the shooting was a mistake, and now the  jury has found that it was a negligent mistake" and Mehserle committed a  crime.

    Allen, who attended all of Mehserle's trial, said BART has always  "accepted responsibility for the actions of Mr. Mehserle" and agreed that it  had civil liability in Grant's death.

    Oakland attorney John Burris filed a $50 million wrongful death  and civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Grant's family against BART, Mehserle  and several other officers on March 2, 2009.

    On Jan. 27, BART reached a $1.5 million settlement for Grant's  5-year-old daughter, Tatiana Grant. The agency has not yet reached a  settlement with Grant's mother, Wanda Johnson.

    Oscar Grant's Family, Supporters React to Verdict

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    Family and supporters of Oscar Grant express disappointment with jury's decision of guilty of involuntary manslaughter for Johannes Mehserle.

    Settlement talks broke off in early February after Burris accused  BART of breaching a confidentiality agreement by disclosing the details of  the settlement for Tatiana Grant.

    But Allen said he and Burris have agreed to seek mediation and  will ask U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Patel to appoint a mediator when  they return to her San Francisco courtroom for a case management conference  on Aug. 9.

    He noted that the hearing will be three days after Mehserle's  sentencing on Aug. 6.

    "We will see if there are reasonable grounds to settle the case.  Reasonable minds can find common ground," Allen said.